How to Win Money at Sports Betting in 2023

Nobody can teach you how to win money at sports betting. In 2023, with so much increased access to legal sports bets in America, plenty of amateur bettors are lining up to try to beat the sportsbook.

They have a difficult wake-up call headed their way.

The 9 tips here were put together by sports bettors who learned these lessons the hard way. Avoid the common pitfalls of sports betting by incorporating this advice into your gambling strategy.

1 – Be Realistic About Your Odds

Sports betting is a grind. It’s a long-term investment in a highly volatile market. Sports betting for a profit requires a lot of experience, even more research, and a bankroll and bet sizing scheme that can withstand frequent swings of luck.

There’s a stat that gets thrown around a lot in strategy articles that says less than 5% of all sports betting accounts are profitable. If that’s even close to true, it’s a startling statistic that should help right-size any feelings of confidence you have about your ability to beat the sportsbook consistently.

It’s one thing to want to win money at sports betting – quite another to want to win frequently enough to turn a profit throughout a long and volatile sports season.

In short, you can absolutely win at sports betting. You may not be able to do it consistently enough to call yourself a profitable sports bettor.

2 – Don’t Pay for Picks

No sports betting prognosticator is worth the money they’re charging. Sports betting success is often a matter of just a few tenths of a percent. Sportsbook vig and its measly ten percent can be the difference between long-term wins and losses. When you pay for a pick, you’re reducing your edge by the amount that you pay.

Think of it this way. You spend $15 a month for picks, and you make ten bets each month. You just added $1.50 to the cost of each bet. That’s like paying the sportsbook extra vig just for the heck of it.

As a new (or at least less-experienced) bettor, you should be looking for every penny of edge you can find. By paying someone else to do your work for you, not only do you give up control of your bankroll, but you make your bankroll worth less over the long run.

Save the money you were going to pay to some sports nerd and make an extra bet every couple of weeks. You should read this post about buying sports picks for a more detailed explanation of why this is such a terrible idea.

3 – Stick to What You Know

Unless you’re prepared to spend hundreds of hours a month doing extra reading and research beyond your usual sports fandom, you should probably only bet in markets you have some knowledge of.

That might mean having played the sport before yourself, having been a fan for decades, or whatever else would expose you to the kind of information a successful sports bettor needs.

If you’ve been a fan of baseball since you were a kid, but you find yourself betting on NFL games, you’re robbing yourself of potential. You can leverage that existing baseball knowledge into sports betting success. Betting in a market you don’t really understand means playing into the hands of the oddsmaker.

4 –  . . . But Stay Comfortable with Homework

Just because you’ve been watching NBA games since before you can remember doesn’t mean you know everything you need to know.

Baseball bettors need to watch how every team in the league is performing against its expected W-L rate. Basketball bettors should stay up-to-date on an ever-changing list of offensive and defensive stats. Football bettors see more line movement than any other big US sport, making their list of necessary homework items longer than the average fan.

Trends change. Rules change. Lineups change. The more comfortable you are reading and watching content that improves your knowledge of the game, the better a time you’ll have doing the homework necessary to support a sports betting habit.

5 – Look for Beatable Sports Markets

It’s easier to win betting on some sports compared to others. Historical trends back this up.

Men’s tennis favorites win almost 90% of their matches. Home dogs cover the run line often enough in baseball to present a blindly-profitable system. College basketball lines are the worst in the industry. And they’re easy to beat with just a little bit of experience.

You can break down a brick wall by banging your head against it or by using a stick of dynamite. Some sports markets are easier to beat than others. You should always use dynamite rather than bash your head in.

6 – Consider Advanced Statistics

One of the only benefits of being a sports bettor in the modern age is your free and easy access to almost limitless data. The phrase “advanced statistics” refers to any number of modern ways number nerds look at and categorize sports performance. You can find these (generally free-to-see) statistics online. Then incorporate them into your betting strategy.

In the NBA, the Daily Plus-Minus stat (known as DPM) gives bettors a huge advantage when it comes to projecting performance. This is a one-look tool that can help you handicap an NBA game.

For MLB bettors, the use of BABIP has changed the face of betting. BABIP measures a player’s batting average on all non-HR balls they put in play. It’s a way to measure a player’s relative luck, as well as their talent level relative to the league and to different pitchers they face. Bettors generally use BABIP when considering the sustainability of a hitting performance.

NFL sports bettors can look to Win Probability Added (WPA) for an idea of the relative total value of a given player. WPA is like the popular WAR statistic in baseball.

Here’s one thing to remember when you look at these advanced stats:

Every other bettor and all the oddsmakers have access to this information as well.

7 – Bet on Opening Lines

Opening lines are as close as you’ll get to a “you versus the book” situation. Oddsmakers release these lines before they really understand where the betting money is going to go, and several days before rosters are finalized.

Opening lines move quickly in response to changes in the league and in the betting market. For that reason, and because books know these lines are more vulnerable, they usually carry strict betting limits.

That shouldn’t be a big problem for sports bettors looking to win more often. A win is a win, even if it’s capped at a few hundred bucks rather than a few thousand.

8 – Take Advantage of Bonuses & Promotions

It’s not an exaggeration to say that taking advantage of the many bonuses and promotions available to sports bettors gives you an edge over the house. There’s a massive list of new sites catering to the US sports betting market. They’re offering huge incentives for customers to sign up and deposit money.

While you should scan the terms and conditions of these offers to make sure you can fulfill their requirements, it’s easy to earn enough to place a few free bets. All you have to do is sign up and make a qualifying deposit – something you were looking to do anyway.

Here are two examples of US-facing sportsbook welcome bonuses you can chase.

At Bovada, you can earn a 50% match bonus up to a total of $250. The rollover requirement (the amount you have to bet to clear the entire bonus) is 5x the initial deposit and bonus amount. To earn that $250, you’d have to deposit $500 then place $3,750 in bets.

At BetOnline, you can also get a 50% match bonus, but it’s capped at $1,000. The rollover requirement is 10x the deposit and bonus amount. To earn the entire $1,000 in bonus cash, you’d have to deposit $2,000 then place $30,000 in bets.

9 – Open Multiple Sportsbook Accounts

To take advantage of potentially-profitable differences in odds, and to put yourself in a better position to earn bonuses and other rewards, you should have an account at more than one book.

This is true regardless of your bankroll size. Promotions usually allow small-scale bonuses. You don’t have to deposit hundreds of dollars to earn bonus cash. As an added bonus, chasing a smaller bonus requires a smaller amount of play to release the funds.

Conclusion – How to Win Money at Sports Betting

You shouldn’t expect to be consistently profitable betting on sports. Between vig, the volatile games that underlie the sports betting markets, and plain old bad luck, betting on sports is among the hardest ways to earn a buck. Learning how to win money at sports betting in 2023 is easy – putting those things into practice consistently is a lot harder.

The world’s best sports bettors work full-time to achieve a winning percentage in the mid-50s. These are the best sports betting minds in the world, and they’re thrilled to win a few percent more than break-even.

By following the nine tips in this post, you’ll protect yourself from the worst downsides of sports betting, while accentuating your abilities in the areas that tend to be profitable.

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